AN EXPERT INSPECTS LEECHES AT THE INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL LEECH CENTRE NEAR MOSCOW.
An expert inspects leeches at the International Medical Leech Centre in the village of Udelnoye, some 30 kms from Moscow, December 23, 2003. Like many discarded elements of traditional medcine, leeches have made a come-back as doctors have re-discovered their pain-killing properties, which come from the chemicals they inject into the skin when they bite it. Several medical trials have proven leeches, hirudo medicinalis in medical Latin, help relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other conditions. The centre sells the leeches throughout the former Soviet Union and to the West. One leech would cost about three dollars in France, and up to 25 dollars in Canada. REUTERS/Viktor Korotayev